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A City Unmasked

Off Campus | February 19, 2013

As the warnings waxed, the restlessness roused, and the climate cooled, the bustle of Boston did not cease its theatrical trafficking or frisk flows. The familiar enthusiasm of this dynamic city was mirrored in the raucous winds and devoted persistence of our February storm. The snow fell quickly and nimbly; akin to the way we animate our ideas. Winds raged with a revealing chill and frustrating endurance, like the way a taxing question itches our reflections and bears our conclusions. Slowly, too, but reliably, the snow piled, similar to the way our knowledge and experience collect and establish space for new falling layers. It is no wonder this storm was attracted to such a similar body of energy and flurry and it is no wonder the storm’s power fueled an animated response from the doers in its path. The people of Boston had discovered a playmate in the storm and reveled in its power, its dance, and finally, its settlement.

As any zealous event wanes, the motions of exhaustion cradle those who wear a façade of energy and covertly crave a quiet moment of inaction. Following the relieving snowfall, silence hushed the city; homes formed enclaves of warmth and rest, while hoods and boots shielded from over-exertion. Davis, Porter, and Harvard Squares alluded to the style of late apocalyptic demise and abandoned hope. The towns halted, stifling the flame of industry and performance, imparting rather, a slack in ambition, a schism in the endless flow of work.

But what slowly arose in its place, as the city woke from its reviving slumber, was a touching vision, refreshing the worn personality that hard work often suppresses. The familiar chaos, arresting faces, and showy attitude of Massachusetts Avenue now offered many the liberties to trounce about the four lanes on skis or snow shoes, zipping their children into the very spots normally occupied by barreling shipping trucks, frenzied drivers, and straggling cyclists. The banks of windblown snow imprisoned no one, for these hills were mountains to climb and joyfully skid down and land into the arms of friends, the warmth of heavy laughter, and the solace of relaxation. For a brief day, worry and struggle ceased, as the city’s demanding expectations hid temporarily beneath frozen charm and numbed worries. The city halted its daily exercises, embracing a passionate, lively response to the life it often buries under expectations and uncertainties.

There is no predicting the city’s next relief, for such repose creeps into the fabric of surely stitched life with spontaneity. Although the city fears untamed frivolity, it found itself relieved when freed from the drudgery of a mechanical day. Stiff and imprisoned by the need to aspire, a city can lose sight of its youthful wishes. Yet, within the identity of Boston, this inner child and this cured adult reign harmoniously. We need only recognize their coexistence.